Ranjitsinh Disale Wins Global Teacher Prize 2020

Disale announced that he would be sharing 50 per cent of the prize money with the remaining nine teachers from the 10 Global Teacher Prize finalists. He would also launch an initiative to ensure that each year at least 5000 students from the war-afflicted countries of the world are recruited into a Peace Army.

Ranjitsinh Disale, primary school teacher from Maharashtra becomes first Indian to receive USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize.

Ranjitsinh Disale, a government school teacher from Maharashtra was announced as the winner for the Global Teacher Prize 2020 in recognition of his efforts to promote girls’ education and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India. With this win, the primary school teacher has made history by becoming the first Indian to ever win this honour and the USD 1 million award. The winner’s announcement was made at a virtual ceremony broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London by British actor-broadcaster Stephen Fry.

Disale announced that he would be sharing 50 per cent of the prize money with the remaining nine teachers from the 10 Global Teacher Prize finalists. He would also launch an initiative to ensure that each year at least 5000 students from the war-afflicted countries of the world are recruited into a Peace Army.

Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Maharashtra, India, won the prize as a recognition for his endeavours in promoting girls’ education and starting a much-needed advancement of QR coded textbooks in India. Many girls from the village belonged to tribal communities that did not give importance to girls’ education and the practice of teenage marriage was common in the communities which proved detrimental to their educational opportunities. The curriculum in the first school that Disale taught in, which was in a dilapidated building, was not in students’ primary language i.e Kannada. This made it difficult for the pupils to put forth the best outcomes. Disale tackled this situation by learning Kannada and translating all the textbooks of grades 1-4 for better comprehension, along with unique QR codes that embedded audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments in Kannada.

He established a lab at his home which is now open for all (Source: Ranjt Shibale/Twitter)

The positive effect of his endeavours has been tremendous enough that there are now no reported teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance of girls at the school.  Additionally, the school was awarded Best School for the district in 2016, and 98 per cent of students have achieved their expected learning outcomes before completing the school year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed education and the communities it serves in a multitude of ways. But in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education,” said Disale. “Teachers are the real change-makers who are changing the lives of their students with a mixture of chalk and challenges. They always believe in giving and sharing. And, therefore, I am very pleased to announce that I will share 50 per cent of the prize money equally among my fellow top 10 finalists to support their incredible work. I believe, together, we can change this world because sharing is growing,” he said.

The Global Teacher Prize, which is an effort by the Varkey Foundation aimed for the upliftment of the status of teachers worldwide, is an annual US $1 million award given to a teacher who made a substantial contribution to the profession. The prize was initially launched in March 2014 where they received over 5,000 nominations from 127 countries.

Ranjit Disale in his classroom (Source- Facebook)

Disale was selected in the final 10 from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries, alongside Olasunkanmi Opeifa from Nigeria, Jamie Frost from the UK, Carlo Mazzone from Italy, Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba from South Africa, Leah Juelke from the US, Yun Jeong-hyun from South Korea, Samuel Isaiah from Malaysia, Hà Ánh Phượng from Vietnam and Doani Emanuela Bertan from Brazil. 

Last year, Dr. Swaroop Rawal was the only Indian to be selected among the top ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019. The former Miss India, after becoming a mother and returning to study at the age of 37, pursued a PhD, researching life skills enhancement for mental wellbeing, teacher education, and the arts as a tool for education.

(With Anaita Pednekar)

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About the author: Abhishek Ranjan

Abhishek Ranjan is the Founder and Director of SarkariSchool.IN

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